Philadelphia Phillies Pursuing Chone Figgins and Mark DeRosa

November 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Phillies are “intent on pursuing Chone Figgins hard,” and that they have already reached out to fellow free agent third baseman Mark DeRosa.

Philadelphia is seeking a replacement at third base after declining Pedro Feliz’s $5.5 million option this past weekend, and Heyman claims that they feel that Figgins presents the biggest upgrade to the Phightens.

Figgins is the cream of the crop at the hot corner on the open market, and will more-than-likely find himself landing a pretty big paycheck whether it’ll be re-signing with Los Angeles or somewhere else.

The 31-year-old hits for a high average, gets on-base by all means and steals a ton of bases batting mostly leadoff for the Angels in his seven-year career. Last year, he had a career high .395 on-base percentage.

Figgins batted .298 with five dingers and 54 RBI in 158 games for the Halos last year while stealing 49 bases, and walking 101 times. If he was in the Phils’ lineup, he’d lead the team in walks, average and runs.

Over the past three seasons, the 5’8″, 180-pound Figgins has swiped 117 bags while hitting .301 with a .386 OBS. Last season, he set a career high in walks; no other season has Figgins walked more than 65 times.

Should the Phillies sign Figgins, they see a chance to improve the lineup while shaking it up. Heyman quotes an AL executive: “like the idea of putting Figgins at the top of their lineup with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.”

Let’s say that he does sign with the Phils, what will Charlie Manuel do with the lineup as Rollins and Victorino have been excellent 1-2 hitters. Should Figgins step in as the leadoff hitter is the next question.

With Rollins and Victorino atop the order, the Phillies have been in the top three in the National League in runs scored. They have been the most important batters in the lineup, and it would change if Figgins’ is added.

Some feel that Rollins is better suited lower in the order, and signing Figgins would allow the Phillies to do it without losing any kind of a spark at the top of the lineup.

Rollins has some power, and hits his fair share of home runs so batting him in the fifth-hole makes a lot of sense because it’ll give him a chance to drive in runs. And at the same time, it doesn’t make sense.

When Rollins scores a run, the Phillies usually win. He’s the heart-and-soul of the lineup even though Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are the team’s best run producers; If Jimmy isn’t going, the Phils aren’t.

Having him bat lower in the lineup would give him less at-bats, but it will also give him a better pitch selection due to batting behind the “Big Piece.” In this scenario, there’s a ton of point-counterpoints.

Here’s a comparison of Figgins and Rollins stats from a season ago:

Average: .298
Home Runs: 5
RBI: 54
R: 114
SB: 42
OBP: .395

Average: .250
Home Runs: 21
RBI: 77
R: 100
SB: 31
OBP: .296

Ruben Amaro Jr. said that there’s a few guys out there that could be upgrades, and DeRosa is one of them. According to Heyman, the Phils are one of eight teams to have reached DeRosa’s agent already.

DeRosa, 34, has enamored the Phillies for a couple of years now. Last winter, they tried to acquire him from the Chicago Cubs in a three-way trade with San Diego, and prior to that, they tried to sign him.

The former University of Pennsylvania quarterback hit 23 homers with 78 RBI while splitting last season with Cleveland and St. Louis. In seven of his 10 years in the MLB, he has made the playoffs.

Adrian Beltre is another candidate to be the new third baseman for the Phightens next season, and Philly has been linked to him in the past. Some think he would be a perfect fit in Citizens Bank Park.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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